*Gospel singer and pastor, Donnie McClurkin, claims that every success he has experienced in life happened because he stumbled into it.
His fans won’t stumble but can run to Lehman Center for the Performing Arts at 8:00 p.m. on March 27th, where Donnie will be performing a full fledged concert in the Bronx, alongside the young gospel group and his opening act, Livre, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, something he states he has never done in New York before.
Donnie invites fans to meet him after the concert within the Lehman Center lobby where he hopes to meet and greet them as is his custom. No stranger to travail or even controversy, Donnie met God and found music from the moment he set foot in this world.
“My mother’s side of the family were the musical ones. My father’s side had the comedy. We were raised up around the piano from the time we were born. We learned how to sing in harmonies at 3 and 4 years old,” remarked the 3-time Grammy Award winner, 10-time Stellar Award winner.
The winner of 2 BET Awards and 2 Soul Train Awards as well as a Dove Award and an NAACP Image Award.
When some of us think of Amityville, NY, where Donnie grew up, we think of the movie, Amityville Horrors but the talented performer remembers it as a wonderful community. “When I grew up in Amityville, L.I., it was a rural area. It wasn’t popular or urban,” said Donnie.
“It had some dirt roads and a farm on it with a population of about 30,000. Once the “Amityville Horror” movie came out in the 1970s, everything changed. But for the most part, it was a place where the neighborhood raised the children and everybody on the block knew one another. You were safe. You ate dinner at the table at 6:30 p.m., with mom on one side and dad on the other. We came from a family of 10 children. 8 of us lived and 2 were still born. That was the way it was. It was life.”
As a young boy Donnie was molested by two family members and lost his young brother to a car accident. A lot for a child to bear.
“In everybody’s life its proven the thing that hurts and broke us the most, is oftentimes the very thing that gives us strength. It presents a challenge and allows us to develop abilities, mentalities and concepts that allow us to get through anything. Sometimes positive things result from something negative,” said Donnie who talked about his bout with leukemia — demonstrating his great faith in prayer. “In 1991, I contracted leukemia and now its 2010. I’m still here! I had leukemia for about a year. The doctors told me it was in an acute stage. They said I needed some dramatic medicines – chemotherapy and radiation. I said give me 60 days to talk to my doctor. The doctor asked, “Who is your doctor… God? I replied, “as a matter fact, “yes.” I talked to my pastor, Andrae Crouch and his father (who was a bishop in California at that time). They prayed for me. Later when the doctors tested me they couldn’t find any cancer. I was healed,” said the pastor, attributing his healing to the power of prayer.
Donnie talked about his mentor Andrae Crouch:
“Back in the 1970s, Andrae Crouch was the Kirk Franklin of our gospel day. I always loved Crouch. He was like Michael Jackson to me. In 1971, he came to Jamaica, Queens. I begged my mother to let me go see him. His concert was late but I begged my mother to let me go, promising I would still make school on time the next day. I was 11 years old. My mother agreed. After the concert, I sat in the front row waiting for Mr. Crouch to come out. He came out about 11:00 p.m., and saw me sitting in the dark auditorium. It was surreal. He approached me and asked me what I was doing there. I replied “waiting for you.” He asked if I liked the concert. I replied that I loved it. He queried whether I sang or played and I answered ‘no’. Andrae told me he couldn’t sing or play either until his Dad prayed for him. I said my Dad cant pray for me because he is not born again. Mr. Crouch asked whether I minded if he prayed for me. I said, no. He laid his hand on top of my head and said “God, give him what you gave to me.” Patted my cheek and walked away. And that is how it all began for me,” recalled McClurkin.
Donnie formed the McClurkin Singers at age 19 and then at age 29, the Restoration Choir.
“I notice that every 10 years significant change occurs in my life. Ten years later, I became a minister,” remarked Donnie who recently released his CD “We All Are One.”
“I got into radio because of BeBe Winans. He has always looked out for me. I am like the 11th member of the Winans family. I lost my identity and became Donnie McClurkin Winan,” laughed the WLIB radio host. “Bebe is the one that introduced me to Oprah Winfry. She has supported me ever since. BeBe interviewed me on his radio show and suggested I do radio. He introduced me to his network, I did a test pilot for the radio and it actually caught on,” explained McClurkin who also has a TV show “Perfecting Your Faith,” in the Philadelphia, St. Louis, Norfolk, Memphis and Baton Rouge markets.
Fans can get tickets by calling Lehman Center’s box office at 718-960-8833 or online at www.LehmanCenter.org.
“I’m 50 this year and so far, it’s been a great run,”said Donnie whose radio interview with me can be heard on my show ‘Topically Yours,” on Blakeradio.com, Rainbow Soul.